Friday, October 27, 2017

GWAR - The Blood of Gods (2017)

It has been a while since we heard from the alien war masters of GWAR, and it is totally understandable. After all, they did lose their great leader Oderus Urungus to a tragic, non war related death, so there was no surprise to find that mad, over sexualized aliens also needs time to mourn their loved ones (the few they have). However, the plans for world domination cannot simply stop when one man falls, it is just like Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots always say, "It is next man up". The band did not seem to find the right replacement though, so they called in their old friend, The Berserker Blothar, to see if he could rejoin the group, and thus, a new era of GWAR was born.

Now, I never expect pure brilliance from this band, because while I absolutely love their image and style, GWAR has never really been famous for their keen sense of prolific song writing. They have always been good, but none of their previous 13 records are any classics, and "The Blood of Gods" is no different. No really, it is just another GWAR record, with groovy punk/thrash that has some great funny concepts thrown in. They have certainly not lost their touch, despite the gap between this album and 2013's "Battle Maximus" is the longest album-to-album gap in the band's history.

I do have to say though that there are several parts of this record that sounds more like other bands made it, and GWAR is vomiting their vile mucus all over it. The opening track "War On GWAR" opens up with clear cut early Black Sabbath riffs, riffs that Iommi himself would be proud of. It is surprising as hell, but it is pretty cool at the same time. I do have more doubt over the final song on the record, "If You Want Blood (You Got It)", a dumb AC/DC knock off that does not feel even the least bit like GWAR. I mean come on, this is your grand finale? It is boring and dated as hell, and it is a song that not even a magnificent Angus Young live solo could work its magic around. We also get touches of Motörhead, Dio, and Lordi too in this record, making "The Blood of Gods" a very divided record that does not seem to have a straight direction.

Despite some evidence of stolen goods, there are still some great songs in here, most of them residing on the first half of this 12 songs album. The opening third is really strong, with the previously mentioned "War On GWAR", the groovy "Viking Death Machine", the hard hitting "El Presidente", and the rocking "I'll Be Your Monster. It is a quartet of songs that is almost as good as any connecting quartet in any GWAR album. Later on we also have "Swarm" and its fantastic head banging aura, blasting out great riffs with a catchy chorus and your typical GWAR attitude (GWARtitude?). Also, who cannot love songs that are titled "The Sordid Soliloquy of Sawborg Destructo" and "Death to Dickie Duncan", two of the funnest songs when it comes to theme. Not the best songs overall, but fun nonetheless.

And that is exactly what a GWAR album is supposed to be, fun. You know that you are not gonna get wowed by this band's amazing instrumental skills or impactful song writing, you are here for a good head banging and a laugh or two, and "The Blood of Gods" certainly delivers on that. Sure, it is a slightly uneven record with some black spots here and there, but there is enough quality to go around. The only real disappointment I had with the album is that I expected the band to honor Oderus in some way or another (like they did with Flattus Maximus in the last album), but I guess the band wanted to move on, keep doing what GWAR does best. Deliver good metal, and crushing enemies.

Songs worthy of recognition: Swarm, War On GWAR, Viking Death Machine, El Presidente

Rating: 7/10 Phantom Limbs

More reviews of GWAR
Battle Maximus

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